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Transcript of Barbados Rebellion
The Barbados rebellion is otherwise known as the Bussa rebellion.The abolition of the slave trade did little to improve the the lot of slaves; however, it undoubtedly raised expectations that full freedom was imminent. On Easter Sunday,1816, a slave uprising began in Barbados. This was to cost hundreds of of lives and a quarter of that year's sugar crop.
Reasons for the Revolt
The slaves planned that during the Easter weekend when the governor was off the island and the planters were away from the estates, they would take over the island and declare the Washington Franklin the governor.
They would disrupt crop time by burning the cane fields, turning the mills into wind and leaving them to fly unattended.
Plans were also made to have a guerilla groups meet the and harass the militia that they expected to come from them. It was expected that the planters would suffer great financial losses.
The slave leaders told the slaves that the governor would return the island to their "free paper", and instruct the troops no to interfere with them.
Roles/Actions of Slaves.
On April 14,1816, the revolt started in the parish of St.Philip on Bayley's plantation.
Slaves set trash piles and cane fields afire.
Plantation buildings were destroyed.
Mills were turned into the wind and left to fly unattended.
Bells were rung to announce that slaves on successive plantations had joined the revolt.
One white person was killed.
The reason for the rebellion included the following:
In 1815, William Wilberforce, a British abolitionist, introduced a bill in parliament requiring the names and description of all slaves in the West Indies to be entered in official registers to prevent the smuggling of slaves which was being carried on extensively, as well as to keep a check on mortality among slaves.His proposal was wildly misunderstood in Barbados where free Negroes told the slaves that they were to be emancipated on January 1, 1816. When they realized that they were disappointed, they revolted.
The planters were fiercely opposed to the bill, and they openly discussed it. This led to the belief that freedom had been granted but the planters were withholding it.
Slaves wanted their freedom.
Some slaves believed that Barbados belong to them not to the whites.
Slave conditions had not improved significantly in the island since the 1790's, yet the slaves were overconfident; they believed that the were content, loyal and well cared for, and that their regime was strong and secure.
Measures/Suppression taken against the rebel slaves
As soon as news of the revolt reached Bridgetown on the morning of Easter Monday, the following measures were adopted:
Martial law was proclaimed.
Troops were mobilized and they marched to the parishes and began to round up the rebels.
Slaves caught off their estates were murdered on spot. 176 were killed by troops that were sent against them.
Many other slaves were rounded up, put before the makeshift court of enquiry, sentenced to death and return to their owner's plantation where the execution was carried out.
214 slaves were hanged and their heads were placed on poles and left at the spot of execution to serve as a warning to other slaves.
Leaders of the revolt, including Washington Franklin,were executed.
Several slaves were deported to British Honduras, but local officials refused to accept them,so they were sent to Sierra Leone.
Consequence of the Revolt
The Consequence of the revolt include the following:
The whites turned against the missionaries, in the island, chapels were damaged and missionaries,like the Methodist, William Shrewbury, were threatened.
The slaves were defeated and many of them lost their lives.
There was a reduction in the in the size of the labour force.
There was a widespread of destruction of property including a fifth of the sugar crop.
The treatment of the missionaries helped to turn British public opinion against the planters and made people in Britain more favourable to emancipation.